Last year, two of the biggest players in the short-term rental industry promised to deal with the disruption their customers were inflicting on communities across the country. People in the greater Orlando area—which represents the industry’s No. 1 destination for family groups and topped search requests for the July 4 weekend—knew what they were talking about. They’d seen the peace of too many neighborhoods shattered by non-stop noise and traffic. In extreme cases, third-party promoters would turn residential properties into venues for drug- and alcohol-fueled bacchanals, charging entry fees and packing dozens of people into a single home.
Airbnb and Vrbo, the top two rental platforms, joined forces on a promise to do better. Last month, Airbnb, the nation’s largest vacation rental platform, adopted permanent changes that will make it easier to identify irresponsible users—renters and property owners alike—and shut them down. The new policy includes a blanket ban on “disruptive parties,” but goes beyond that to address patterns associated with bad behavior. For example, over the July 4 weekend potential guests without any positive reviews were blocked from booking one-night stays of homes. And Airbnb says it was on the lookout for last-minute bookings by locals as well.
In addition, Airbnb has set up a portal that lets nearby property owners register complaints about disruptive listings at www.airbnb.com/neighbors. And they are putting these policies into action. Over 2021, Airbnb suspended more than 6,600 guests for violating the party ban, says company spokesman Haven Thorn. “We don’t tolerate when people violate our policies,” he says. Year-over-year, Florida has seen a 67% drop in party-house complaints on Airbnb.